When Red Hood goes after The Penguin, he doesn’t hold back. The consequences will change everything for the Outlaws forever.
RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS VOL. 2 #24
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Dexter Soy and Alisson Borges
Color Artist: Veronica Gandini
Cover Artist: Trevor Hairsine and Antonio Fabela / Variant: Guillem March
Publisher: DC Comics
What You’ll Need to Know:
After reading several letters his father wrote when he was still alive, Red Hood discovers that The Penguin was the person responsible for sending his father to prison. Seeing The Penguin as the person responsible for breaking up his family, Red Hood now has a serious vendetta against the Gotham crime lord. What he doesn’t yet know is that his Outlaws teammate (and present romantic interest) Artemis also has some ties to his father’s death as well.
Bizarro’s mental capacities continue to diminish as he reverts back to his simple-minded self.
What You’ll Find Out (SPOILERS):
The issue opens up with Bizarro watching a television show on a large screen, within the floating fortress the Outlaws call home. The show is derived from Bizarro’s mind and is displayed for him to see. In it, Bizarro and Red Hood lead a team of vigilante heroes consisting of: the rogue Amazon Artemis, the archer Arsenal, the alien Starfire, crazed hero The Creeper, and the Superman doll brought to life Pup Pup.
The fictional team is in a battle with Batman villain The Joker, yellow lantern bad guy Sinestro, zombie powerhouse Solomon Grundy, mentalist ape Gorilla Grodd, Superman cyborg The Eradicator, and Batman villain Bane. They each take out a villain, with Red Hood gaining the upper hand on The Joker. Red Hood is about to shoot the Joker in the head, but Bizarro stops him before he can, saying “We’ve won, Jason. We can afford to temper victory with justice.” Pup Pup agrees, saying that they are better than murder. Bizarro then utters the catchphrase Outlaws Onward! Still watching the show play out, Bizarro is as content as a child with a new toy, saying “Me love you guys.”
Outside, however, Artemis is being attacked by the fortress as she attempts to enter. As the cloaked fortress is floating stationary several blocks above Gotham City’s Crime Alley, she uses a jetpack to dodge the many lasers fired at her from the structure. She attempts to contact Red Hood, but her connection is severed. The fortresses’ A.I. system (in the form of Bizarro) then displays on the outer walls, telling Artemis that anyone attempting to enter will be killed and that the fortress will self-destruct in eight minutes. Artemis tries rationalizing with the computer, telling it that thousands of people will be killed and that it needs to end the self-destruction program now. The A.I. corrects her, telling her that tens of thousands will be killed, but that the program can’t be reversed as the entire fortress is linked to Bizarro’s genius mind. Now that he’s regressing back to his simple self, the fortress will suffer as well.
Inside the fortress and completely unaware of what is happening outside, Bizarro is upset when the television show he is watching begins to disintegrate. He asks the Superman doll beside him what happened. Bizarro’s mind still imagines that the doll is alive, and Pup Pup tells him that his story will end just as everyone else’s does, but to keep trying. Bizarro hugs Pup Pup and tells him he’s a good friend.
Artemis finally manages to break into the fortress and finds Bizarro. She tells him to shut down the self-destruct program, but Bizarro simply looks at her and asks if she’s “Red Her”, a term he used to call Artemis when he was still simple-minded. Tears immediately fill Artemis’ eyes as she realizes that Bizarro has fully reverted to his original mind. Extending her hand, she asks him to follow her. Still holding Pup Pup, he does.
Near Gotham City harbor, Red Hood watches as The Penguin officially opens a 2-mile long waterfront area called The Ice Patch. The area is filled with carnival attractions and restaurants, similar to Coney Island in New York, or Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles. An announcer tells the gathered crowd that the area was formerly an uninhabitable area, referred to as Monster Town. (see Batman: Night of the Monster Men) Now, he announces, it is a thriving resource, thanks to Oswald Cobblepot, aka The Penguin. As The Penguin accepts his accolades, an explosion occurs at a nearby building. From out of the smoke walks Red Hood. He is obviously angry as he mentally recalls the promise he made to Batman, that he wouldn’t kill anyone in Gotham City. He tells himself that he will have to now break that promise. The Penguin’s bodyguards try protecting their boss, but Red Hood easily takes them out. He then goes after The Penguin, kicking him across the face.
Penguin tells Red Hood that he will have him killed. Red Hood then reveals to The Penguin that the reason he’s come after him is for Willis Todd. Penguin asks if that’s the person he tried to dig up the night before in Potter’s Field. Red Hood says yes, but that he was also his father. He explains that his father previously worked for The Penguin, and every other crime lord in Gotham City, but that it was because of The Penguin that his father went to prison and away from his family. Red Hood then takes off his helmet to show his true face, that of Jason Todd. Penguin begins laughing hysterically, telling him that he just revealed his secret identity over a nobody. Not only that but by association, he now knows the secret identity of Batman as well.
Jason grabs Penguin by the shirt and tells him that he’s tired of arresting criminals, only to have them released by a crooked judge the next day. Putting his helmet back on, Red Hood tells The Penguin that he’s there to kill him, once and for all. The Penguin tells him that he’s bluffing and that he doesn’t have the nerve to go through with it. He says that for all the bad cop banter he gives, in the end, he’s just another goody-goody in a costume playing hero. By now, several Gotham City police officers have gathered around the two men and order Red Hood to drop his weapon. The Penguin antagonizes Red Hood further by telling the officers that they needn’t worry, that he’s just another Bat Brat. Red Hood then tells The Penguin that he’s actually his father’s son, and shoots him in the head.
Red Hood then steals a police motorcycle and is chased by the city’s police. He’s followed to Crime Alley, but he manages to lose them along the way. He tries contacting Artemis and Bizarro on his com-link but only gets static. Then, looking up, Red Hood sees that the fortress he and the other Outlaws are based out of is on fire and falling to the ground.
In the Batcave, Batman watches live video feed of Red Hood shooting The Penguin point blank in the face. Reporters then include that he’s now listed in critical condition. Batman’s butler Alfred informs him that Nightwing, Robin and several other of Batman’s assistant crime fighters are on the phone and want to know what they should do. Batman tells Alfred to tell them to do nothing, that he will take on Red Hood himself.
What Just Happened:
Ish just hit the fan as Red Hood broke Batman’s carnal rule: do not kill. Now papa Bats is ready to dole out some punishment. Red Hood also must deal with the fact that his one place of solitude is literally crashing down upon him. With no access to his team or his home, Red Hood is now on the run with the world’s greatest detective on his heels. Things are definitely bleak.
Final Thought: This issue was amaze-balls! SO much has happened. First off, Red Hood shot The Penguin. In the face. On live television. He as a character has been shown to be a rebel from the get-go, but this really takes things to a whole new level. You just KNOW the next issue is going to be a no-holds-barred fight between Red Hood and Batman. Batman has always held a firm leash on Red Hood, but now that he’s bitten his hand, we’re gonna see exactly what punishment Batman will give him. Double sized, even!
Bizarro is now officially back to his original mind. This really isn’t something that bothers Red Hood or Artemis, as they love the chalk skinned guy no matter what type of mind he has. It does, however, bother the thousands of Gothamites who live and work in the section of the city the Outlaws fortress is falling down upon. What happened to Artemis and Bizarro you ask, and how will they stop the fortress from destroying the city? I guess we’ll just have to wait until next issue to find out.
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